Story By: SCOTT RUNNING / STAFFORD MOTOR SPEEDWAY – STAFFORD SPRINGS, CT – When the green flag falls on the 2020 NASCAR Weekly Racing season at Stafford Speedway, 2-time Limited Late Model track champion Duane Provost will find himself challenging for Rookie of the Year honors for the first time in 10 years.
Provost, who started his Stafford career in the DARE Stock division, is set to move to the Late Model division in 2020. Provost competed in the DARE Stock division from 2005-2009 and has been a mainstay of the Limited Late Model division ever since, winning the Rookie of the Year title in 2010 before winning back to back track titles in 2016 and 2017.
“I think it was finally the right time for me to make the move,” said Provost. “I’ve spent enough years in the Limited Late Model division and I’ve been saving money for a while now so the time was right to make the move. As I was thinking about what move I wanted to make, I threw around the idea of going SK Light racing but I don’t have any experience working with those cars and I think I’d also have my hands full just learning the driving style of those cars, so since the Late Models are pretty similar to the Limited cars, that made more sense for me. I’m definitely looking forward to it.”
Although the Late Model and Limited Late Model cars may be very similar to one another, Provost knows he still faces a learning curve through several different variables. Provost will now have to set his car up for 30-lap feature events instead of 20-laps and he will also have to grow accustomed to having a spotter constantly in radio communication with him throughout each feature event.
“I think getting used to having a spotter talking in my ear is going to be the biggest challenge for me,” said Provost. “It’s not a case of trusting or not trusting the spotter, it’s the fact of having someone talking in my ear for a whole race. I’ve raced for so long with just the race control spotter to listen to so having a full-time spotter is going to take some getting used to. There’s going to be some learning curve with racing 30 laps now instead of 20 but I think I’ve learned to manage my tires pretty well to make them last to the end of the race so I don’t think that will be much of an issue. I’m going to be looking for someone who can set the car up for me each week which will allow me to focus on other aspects of the car at the track.”
Racing in the Late Model division will allow Provost to continue to race the same chassis that he’s been campaigning in the Limited Late Model division, albeit with upgraded parts and pieces to bring the car up to Late Model standards. By going with a chassis that he is familiar with, Provost will be looking to cut down the amount of new information that he will have to learn in order to be a competitive car.
“I went back and forth on getting a new car or keeping my old car and I decided to stay with my own car,” said Provost. “Right now it’s completely stripped down to nothing but metal and R.J. Surdell is helping me to hang a new Camaro body on the chassis. I could have went out and bought a new car but I know the history of this car and I know it’s fast and I don’t have to guess if something might be wrong with the car. I’ll still have to learn about things like springs and shocks that are different from the Limited division but I’ll know everything on the car is good.”
Provost won Rookie of the Year honors in the Limited division back in 2010 and his main goal for the 2020 season will be to add a second rookie crown to his trophy case. Provost will also be looking to add to his career total of 18 Limited Late Model and 2 DARE Stock feature wins.
“The goal is always to win as many races as possible but whether we can win a race or not is the big question,” said Provost. “Winning Rookie of the Year will be our big goal for the season and we’re going to try our hardest to win races. I think we’ll have a pretty good idea after the first couple of races if we can make that happen or not next season. I’d like to thank R.J. Surdell for helping me hang the new body on the car and my sponsors Michael Facchini Law Firm and Team Link for all of their support.”